SHANGHAI -- Audi ranks highest for the third consecutive year in J.D. Power's 2012 China Sales Satisfaction Index Study.
The German carmaker scored 898 points on a 1,000-point scale this year, according to the study results J.D. Power released this month.
Dongfeng Nissan, a joint venture between Nissan Motor Co. and China's Dongfeng Motor Corp., ranked second with a score of 897 points.
Beijing Hyundai, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Co. and China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp., ranked third with 891 points.
All of the companies that scored above the industry average of 841 are the joint ventures of global brands or imported global brands.
Among China's domestic automakers, Chery scored the highest with a score of 841, which is on par with the industry average. All of the other Chinese brands scored below the industry average.
Overall, industry-wide sales satisfaction declined six points this year.
J.D. Power attributed the deterioration in overall sales satisfaction among new-vehicle owners in China to increased sales pressure and a lack of experienced staff at dealerships.
After experiencing fast growth in the past decade, China's passenger vehicle sales began to slow significantly in late 2011. But automakers have continued to add production capacity and open new dealerships, which has led to increased inventories at dealerships and acute pressure to sell vehicles, said Liza Wang, a J.D. Power analyst in Shanghai.
"Nearly 80 percent of dealers indicate that high inventories are their greatest challenge, which means dealers are under immense pressure to sell more vehicles at a faster pace," said Wang. "This clearly has had a negative impact on the quality of the purchase experience for new-vehicle buyers."
The rapid expansion of dealership networks has also resulted in a loss of experienced sales staff at existing stores and the influx of inexperienced staff at new dealerships. That has weakened dealers' ability to provide customers with satisfying purchase experience, said J.D. Power.
Nameplates ranking above industry average in sales satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale:
Dongfeng Nissan: 897
Beijing Hyundai: 891
Dongfeng Citroen: 882
Dongfeng Honda: 881
Dongfeng Yueda Kia: 874
Shanghai Volkswagen: 867
Dongfeng Peugeot: 865
Guangqi Honda: 863
FAW Toyota: 860
GAC Toyota: 858
Industry average: 841